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Tangled Wings

Meghan Brand Stauf | Mar 24, 2023

Tangled Wings  

We were on the beach the other day, celebrating the last day of school. My son and his two friends were lying in a circle, directly in the sand, on their bellies, soaking up the warm sun. We had been playing in the surf for hours and were all relaxed, letting out a full-body sigh of relief after making it through another challenging year.  

As I gazed out toward the ocean, I noticed a big pelican floating very close to the shore. Out of curiosity and a lifelong love of these prehistoric-looking creatures, I got up and walked toward the bird. By the time I got closer, more people had noticed and gathered around. I could see the bird flailing around in the shallow water and wondered why it didn’t fly away. Eventually, it became clear that the wings had somehow become tangled, and all his attempts to right them were not working. I immediately got on the phone with the local marine rescue center. As I was on the phone, I could hear people discussing what to do. Some were saying, grab the bird and bring him out of the water. One young man was warning us that there were laws against touching wild animals and that we should leave it alone. Some were asking how did his wings get like that? What did he do to make that happen?  

One woman grabbed a towel and pulled the sizable pelican out of the water. Then she removed the towel, grasped one of the wings, and pulled it over the other while the bird snapped at her with his humongous beak. He knocked her glasses off, but she kept at it until the wings were straightened. The small crowd cheered, thanked, and congratulated the brave woman while the pelican sat briefly. Then it took a few hops into the surf, floated, stretched its wings, and folded them back into its body. The crowd was quiet now, holding our breaths, waiting and wondering if it could fly.  

Then, the wings came out again, flapped a few times, and the bird took flight and flew toward the other pelicans. As people congratulated the woman, recounted the version of what they had witnessed, and pondered how the pelican had ended up in such a predicament, I sighed another breath of relief. I felt hopeful as I watched the great bird glide along with his fellow pelicans.  

Back in April 2020, my wings were tangled. Schools shut down, I couldn’t work, and my son struggled with the changes. As a single mom, my wings were tangled, and I felt I might drown. Then I found the Jai Institute for Parenting. After watching a few videos of how the program worked and following Rebecca Lyddon, Director of Education, on social media, I knew I had found a solution. In the Jai program, to become a parenting coach, one goes through as a client and participates in the 12-week parenting course before the coach training begins. In that process, working with a coach myself, my wings became untangled, and I could fly again. 

With a coach, I felt seen and held in safety.   At that point, the focus was not on how I got into this predicament. I was not left alone to figure it out. The coaching process helped me untangle places where I was stuck in my parenting. It wasn’t until then that I could pause, stretch my wings and fold them back into my body. Then, when I felt safe and stronger, I was taught methods based on science to help me soar.  

The three boys, lying in the sand; the pelicans, brought back from the brink of extinction, gliding over the Pacific Ocean on a journey of migration; and me grounded in the knowledge that I want to share what I have learned and help other parents find peace and support so they and their children can soar- all give me hope.  

As a parent coach, let me wrap a towel around you, gently pull you to safety, help you untangle your wings, and give you the tools to continue your journey and soar. 

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